His Royal Whiskers by Sam Gayton
|His Royal Whiskers by Sam Gayton|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Sean Barrs|
|Summary: A tale in which an evil warlord’s son is turned into a fluffy little ginger kitten can only ever be hilarious. Watching this oafish bully of a man try and deal with the mess was comical and satisfying.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: January 2017|
|Publisher: Anderson Press|
What would you do if your only son was accidently transformed into a cat? The Czar is beside himself, as a war chief, the king of the land, he needs an heir strong enough to follow his legacy. Instead, he has a fluffy ginger kitten. He is the laughing stock of his enemies, and he really needs to turn these odds back in his favour. So he forces those responsible to change the cat into a giant cat through the same magic they used the first time: alchemy.
Teresa and Pieter, the alchemists, have a wonderfully real friendship. They clash, they argue, but they can only really achieve alchemical brilliance when they work together. They complement each other, and fill in the other’s weaknesses. They always make up in the end. And when such a man as the Czar is breathing down their necks, with his threats of death if they don’t meet his deadline, they fight through the pressure and become closer in the process. Mutual fear of death has a way of making friendship stronger.
This is a book about bullies, and how to deal with them. The Czar has conquered so much in his life that the setting becomes an amalgamation of culture. He brings what he considers the best of each land back with him, and these people serve him out of pure fear. He bullies them, he conquers them, and they don’t stand up to him. So he ends up winning every time. Teresa and Pieter set out to change this; they aim to prove that any bully can be beaten, and that nobody has to put up with such nastiness.
However, for all these serious themes within the story, it is uplifted with an undercurrent of humour. The Czar is a hilarious caricature of a warrior king who takes himself too seriously. Despite his murderous nature, it is impossible not to laugh at his ridiculous attitude. Also of note are a memorable cast of characters such as a poodle named Bloodbath, a mouse who is the most dangerous knight in the land and an executioner who only ever uses a rusty dessert spoon to dispatch his victims. Now that sounds painful. For all the humour, the ending couldn’t quite carry it off. The idea of characters being able to survive death became a little problematic to say the least.
Even though this is fantasy, it pushed the boundaries of credibility within the story’s world. It felt like the plot had ended with death, but then this aspect just extended the story when it was over. For me, the last third of the book was a little unnecessary. As an adult reading this, one aware of the desired reading audience of ages 9-11, I can see that this may have been to soften the blow for a younger reader. But I don’t think it worked too well in a story that displayed much violence. In spite of this, the writing gave me many laughs with its relay of creative cat puns at every opportunity. Indeed, this is a fun book that doesn’t take itself too seriously, so it’s perfect for those interested in Worst Ever School Trip: Beaky Malone by Barry Hutchison or if you just like to hear about cats try Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T S Eliot
You can read more book reviews or buy His Royal Whiskers by Sam Gayton at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy His Royal Whiskers by Sam Gayton at Amazon.com.
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